A native of Kinston, North Carolina, William Stadiem is a magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Columbia University. He also holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. A member of the New York Bar, Stadiem worked as an international corporate lawyer for the Wall Street firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, traveling extensively in Europe and Asia.
Finding the law creatively stifling, Stadiem began writing books. He won critical acclaim for A Class By Themselves (Crown), his study of the rise and fall of the Gone With The Wind Southern aristocracy, and for Too Rich (Carroll & Graf), his biography of King Farouk of Egypt, which recreated the splendors of the last days of imperial Egypt and the decadence of Farouk’s exile in Dolce Vita Rome.
Stadiem’s Marilyn Monroe Confidential (Simon & Schuster) generated seven figures in worldwide advances and sold over a million copies, translated into virtually every language. His novel of New York in the Roaring Twenties, Lullaby and Goodnight (NAL), written with Vincent Bugliosi of Helter Skelter fame, was another major best seller and was developed as a mini-series by ABC and Lorimar, with Stadiem writing the four-hour teleplay. Stadiem’s Madam 90210, an inside look at deluxe commercial sex in Hollywood, was Random House’s lead title for its Villard imprint in 1995.
Mr. S, (HarperCollins) about the glory days of Frank Sinatra, 1953-1968, from the perspective of his valet, was an acclaimed bestseller, both here and abroad, in the summer of 2003. Dear Senator (Regan Books, 2005), the story of the relationship between archsegregationist Strom Thurmond and his secret black daughter, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, was a New York Times top ten bestseller. The book was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Everybody Eats There (Artisan),Stadiem’s odyssey through the classic restaurants of the world, was published in 2007.
Don’t Mind If I Do, a memoir of celebrity with George Hamilton, was published by Simon & Schuster in fall, 2008 and was another Times bestseller. Stadiem’s Moneywood, about Hollywood in the greedy 80s, was published by St Martin’s in 2013. Jet Set, a social history of the golden age of Boeing 707 travel from 1958-1971, will be published by the Random House imprint Ballantine in July, 2014.
Daughter of the King, a memoir Stadiem has written with the daughter of ubergangster Meyer Lansky, is Weinstein Books’ lead title for Spring, 2014. Stadiem has just sold, to St Martin’s, The Auctioneer, an inside view of the high-stakes contemporary art world, to be written with former Sotheby’s chairman Simon de Pury and scheduled for publication in 2015. Stadiem is also currently writing King of Diamonds: The Flawless World of Harry Winston with Ronald Winston, the philanthropist son of the iconic jeweler.
In the eighties, Stadiem moved to California and added screenplays to his creative endeavors. In addition to writing an Emmy-nominated episode of LA Law, he wrote the screenplay for Franco Zeffirelli’s $50 million production Young Toscanini, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Philippe Noiret.
Stadiem has developed screenplays for a wide range of producers, from Martin Ransohoff to Ed Pressman, to Interscope to the Zucker Brothers, for whom his script Garrison (about the New Orleans D.A. who took on the Warren Commission, whose life story rights the Zuckers had purchased), was the basis of Oliver Stone’s 1991 JFK . 1994 saw two of Stadiem’s scripts reach the screen. The first, the glowingly reviewed A Business Affair, a sophisticated modern Noel Coward-style comedy set in the elite English publishing world, starred Christopher Walken, Jonathan Pryce and Carole Bouquet. The other film, at the opposite end of the spectrum, was Pentathlon, a Dolph Lundgren action-thriller . In addition to his books and screenplays, Stadiem is an acclaimed journalist. His satirical Hollywood column, “On the Western Front” in Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, was the talk of both coasts. His “Hunger Pangs” column in Buzz magazine made him one of the nation’s leading and most controversial food critics, surveying the restaurants of Los Angeles, and the world, for their theatrical and social, as well as culinary, significance.
Stadiem has also written monthly columns for Movieline and Tatler, and his articles have appeared in Cosmopolitan, Elle, Playboy, Esquire, Harpers & Queen, The Telegraph Magazine, and The Financial Times. Recently the restaurant critic of Los Angeles magazine and the Hollywood columnist for Madison, Stadiem appears frequently on television as a commentator on the world of cinema. He has been the roving international restaurant and hotel correspondent for Food Arts. His article “Studio Head,” chronicling his ill-fated book collaboration with producer Jon Peters, was the lead feature in the March, 2010 Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair.
Stadiem has recently completed screen adaptations of Passing, Nella Larsen’s classic novel of the Harlem Renaissance, and Plantation, the New York Times bestseller by Dorothea Benton Frank. His original screenplay, Book and Snake, a gothic thriller set at Yale, is being packaged for production by Oscar winner Bob Yari. He has written the screenplay for Mr. S for a feature film for New Line Cinema and is currently adapting that book for a documentary to be produced by Graydon Carter, Brian Grazer and Brett Ratner.